In their own words… a few more thoughts on the Auburn game

Some of you probably aren’t of a mind to listen right now, but Coach Richt made a few comments in his post-game presser worth citing as points of reference to why Georgia wound up on the short end of a 49-31 score.

On Auburn’s on-side kick to open the second half: “We alerted [the players] at the half. The dilemma for our special teams is if they sit at the tee and watch the ball too long when all those guys are flying down the field at 100 miles an hour and they’re supposed to get in position to block, they can’t make the block. Auburn’s kickoff coverage team was one of the bigger differences in the game. And with them getting the on-side kick to start the second half and take the lead . . . we were hoping to get the ball first and put them in a position to be behind. We didn’t get good field position off our kickoff returns, and their kickoff coverage team tonight was the best we’ve played all season.”

It didn’t get much attention from the broadcast crew, but I think Richt is spot on about this.  Georgia blocked very poorly for Boykin and didn’t seem prepared for the speed of Auburn’s kickoff coverage team.  Given the number of times Auburn kicked off, that was kind of a big deal.  And I’ll get back to it shortly, but the halftime alert about a potential onside kick highlights a problem that has plagued this team in every loss this season, poor focus.

On biggest differences in the game: “We just couldn’t stop them. That was the biggest difference. We didn’t continue to score, and that’s all there is to it. Auburn was very efficient in what they were doing on offense. It’s very difficult to stop a quarterback who can run like that. The only way to outnumber a run game like that is to bring both safeties to the line of scrimmage. When you do that, he throws the ball too well. Cam (Newton) is a true dual threat and a tough kid. They have other good players that played well today, but he’s the difference.”

Newton is the best player in college football and I don’t think Auburn wins yesterday without him.  (Neither did they, obviously.)  But the reason that Richt and Grantham were faced with the bad choices they had in defending Cam is that their defense lacks a presence in the middle of the d-line.  That hurt them repeatedly throughout the game.  I don’t know if Geathers or Bean will make a difference next year, or if the staff needs to be out beating the JUCO bushes to find a nose tackle, but finding a difference maker on the line has to be Job One in the off-season.

On Auburn playing well despite the week’s distractions: “As a coach and for players, when you go to practice and the meeting room and you’re in your complex, it’s kind of a haven for you. It’s a place where you can focus on the task at hand. When you’re surrounded by guys focused on the same task it’s a good medicine. When there are things swirling around that you cannot control, you have a chance to enjoy playing the game you love.”

I touched on this last night, and for a game that went much like I thought it would, it sure had its sense of the surreal, courtesy of Cam and Cecil Newton.  (Danielson made much the same observation, in the middle of all the tongue bathing he and Uncle Verne were lavishing on Cam.)  I confess that I don’t understand the “no comment” approach Auburn took in the last two days before the game.  Was it gamesmanship?  If so, I doubt the Georgia coaches were taken in by it.  Was it simply a case of the school trying to get control of the story by refusing to respond to every question or rumor, as Ivan Maisel suggests?  If that’s the case, good luck with that.  The story is only going to get bigger with every Auburn win and the school stonewalling the media isn’t going to tamp down on the frenzy to get to the bottom of the story.

But what you have to give Auburn’s coaches big, big credit for is something Georgia lacked at key moments in the game.  And I’ll let Justin Houston have the last word on that.

“They had over 100 yards of rushing just by running the reverse,” Georgia linebacker Justin Houston said. “That is us blowing our assignments. We weren’t where we were supposed to be, and they capitalized on our mistakes.

“Some guys aren’t as focused as they need to be. That hurt today and has hurt us all season.”

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29 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

29 responses to “In their own words… a few more thoughts on the Auburn game

  1. Turd Ferguson

    My willingness to cut the defense some slack — “Hey, it’s their first year learning a new scheme …” — is starting to wear pretty thin. We’re 11 games in, and we’re still having problems with something as basic as staying focused? Whenever I hear something like that, I can’t help but think of Alabama’s defense. No, they’re not perfect. But they’re on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to how much I expect a defense to struggle with things like focusing.

    • MhpDawg

      Remember how poor ‘Bama’s defense was during their first year in the 3-4. They lost to ULM late in the year! It wasn’t until year 2 that the same players figured out what to do. I still believe we’ll get there.

      • merk

        We will, but I think this will be the time when the players see what Grantham means by the best will play. When starters from this season start getting benched for incomming recruits.

        We need to find a good coverage safety…NOT A HITTER. Skrew hitters…you know why? Cause they think everyone is a 6’2 150 guy who they can level with any hit. What you get is those safeties looking like retards cause they can’t tackle anyone their size or bigger.

      • Bryant Denny

        That is a good comment, but not the reason we lost to ULM. :)

        They were just a darn good team.

        Seriously, though, Bama had some “internal” type issues on that team that kind of reared their heads later in the year.

        I truly think Saban was willing to lose several games that year to make a point to some of the attitudes on that team. (Although I don’t think ULM was part of that plan.)

        Richt/Grantham didn’t have that luxury this year.

        BD

        • AthensHomerDawg

          “That is a good comment, but not the reason we lost to ULM. :)

          They were just a darn good team.”

          Whoops. Not unless you think a “darn good team” is one that goes 6 and 6 for the season losing to the likes of Middle Tenn., North Texas and Troy.

      • austintwo

        Not the same players, Bro – Mount Cody arrived in year 2.

  2. gastr1

    Alec Ogletree, step right up.

    Bacarri Rambo, step right up.

    Any LB not named Akeem Dent, step right up.

    How does UGA re-establish a culture of doing what it takes to win?

    • merk

      Ogletree is pretty good. He has the excuse of being a freshman who just started being a starter 2 weeks ago, with maybe 5 games worth of experience for the year. Rambo though…he is a RS soph..he knows how to play and has no excuse for getting burnt time and time again. Either Rambo regressed a ton after the concussion or our secondary was so awful last year that Rambo looked good even though he sucks this bad.

      • Normaltown Mike

        I think Rambo looked good b/c Evans was so bad.

        Our D personnel is plain awful. Houston is awesome, Boykin is good and Tree WILL be great. But the rest are middling at best.

      • gastr1

        Ogletree might be pretty good…except he looked absolutely lost and unfocused in several key plays last night when being in position correctly might have mattered. For example, the key third and 8 on Auburn’s last drive when Newton ran on a three-down DL with a safety spy. The spy, AO, got easily blocked out of the play as if not even there (“too close to the line of scrimmage,” Danielson said…yes); and the play to the TE for the touchdown where AO bit on a play fake in the backfield and the TE ran right by him for a wide-open catch.

  3. merk

    Grantham just needs to go out and pick up freshmen he wants…who WANT to play. It’s simple when you can tell the players if you come to UGA you will be starting.

    Bench everyone who can’t focus. If you can’t focus you are worthless to the team and are not helping.

  4. Never a doubt

    If Richt really wanted to get out ahead of Auburn and put them behind, he should not have sat on the ball in the first half with nearly a minute and a timeout in his pocket. They had scored 21 points and but for absolute gifts, would have scored more. Teams generally score even more in the second half. You had to know at this point in the game that it would take 45 points or so to win.

    Very weak.

    • gastr1

      + 1. Couldn’t understand that move either.

    • Bryant Denny

      I agree with being aggressive, but maybe he didn’t want to fire off a three and out and give Auburn a chance to score right before the half?

      That happened in the AU-Ole Miss game and things got ugly after that (if I recall).

      BD

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Serious question BD, without taking time to dig around, did Bama go to a bowl Saban’s first year?

        If so, how important was the extra month of practice to what happened the next year?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          SJ, after the 2007 regular season Bama played Colorado in the Independence Bowl and beat them. Did the extra practice time help? Bama went 12-2 the next year and won the SEC West. What do you think? I can only speculate that it did.

      • Never a doubt

        In a game where you are outmatched, those are the chances you have to take. If you end up worrying that things might get out of hand, you’ve already lost. You have to have the mindset that we’re going to lay it on the line and take our chances

        We were 5-5. What the hell did we have to lose?

        You don’t sit on the ball there. You try to score and create some separation from a team that you know is going to score a lot more points. Maybe you make that move in a gritty defensive battle. That wasn’t the game we were in yesterday.

    • tduga1

      Couldn’t agree more. That decision summed up our coaching staff perfectly.

      No balls.

      No guts.

      Playing not to lose.

      Here we are at 5-5 against the #2 team in the country and the only thing Richt can think about is what might go wrong.

      Taking a chance with the best receiver in the nation be damned. Lets run the clock.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    I saw the same flashes of a good team I have seen all year. King and Ealey look better late in the season than early, which is a little hard to figure out.

    Auburn’s offensive line simply overwhelmed us at times, especially in the second half, which goes to the Senator’s comment about finding a real presence in the middle.

    I think a lot of us would feel a bit better if Coach Richt felt he could tell us what he really thought about Fairley and the cheap shots on Murray.

    But I understand why he does not comment on that stuff, and he’s probably right not letting his obvious anger speak for him.

    I guess shutting down the offense with time on the clock speaks to his response better than anything he could say.

    We need to beat Tech for a lot of reasons, but maybe the most important is the extra practice time we would get for a bowl game.

    I have always been a sort of quasi-Auburn fan, in other words I thought the family stuff was pretty cool before Chizik copped it from somebody else.

    The problem, to me, with the “Us against Them” mentality is that if you are not very careful controlling things, “Us” can become “Them”.

    There is something wrong with Auburn.

    Bama may give us a clearer picture.

  6. Todd

    Ogletree is a lber. Grantham is a good DC, he just simply doesn’t have the players. To hell with scheme and years of Willie’s teachings, that is BULLSHIT. It is years of poor talent evaluation and whiffs on landing the playmakers. I think it boils down to, are you willing to give this staff 3 or 4 more years?

    Ask yourself honestly, if you were an 18 year old stud recruit, would you want to go to Georgia?

    Dickerson, Drew, Swann, and Crowell are must pick ups for this team.

    The O-line isn’t getting any better guys. Maybe Searles can find a OLman that recently blew his knee out and give him a full ride. Or needs shoulder surgery, same difference. Why isn’t Georgia on a top flight WR this year?

    Ask yourself this question. If AJ Green doesn’t end up in Athens, what does last year and this year look like? If you can’t make a decision, in the words of the gamecock faithful…”wait til next year”

  7. 69Dawg

    I have said it repeatedly, our player, both O and D are not the sharpest razors in the package. They have ADD and become distracted by any fake thrown their way. I fear that a very bad GT team will expose us, after all they are now a 3-4 team and will be very familiar with playing against it in practice. If we don’t score early and often we will get beat at home on senior day. While it might be fitting for us to go out with a whimper given the season I think we do need the practice. Richt will have a high mountain to climb to get us back to 8-5 next year. We are just not a very good football team and we don’t know why. That is the scary part.

  8. Todd

    That is the thing Austin. Some folks say talent, some say coaching, others just find bullshit excuses. To me it all falls on Richt.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Wonder if they know what’s happening at Texas after that 5th loss. Coming off a chance at the NC like they did …. who would have thought?

      • Russ

        Obviously, Mack Brown is a bum and the whole staff needs to be fired. I don’t understand how Texas can put up with that mediocrity. They don’t have any chance of getting better with this staff.

        Or so that seems to be the theme that I’ve heard somewhere.

        • Todd

          Coming off a MNC is different than coming off 7-5. Also, I still haven’t seen the greatness in Muschamp, but hey I am a dumbass that doesn’t recognize talent. Apperntly we are loaded on defense and just still suffering from Willie’s teachings…or so “they” say

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